The rising voice in Pakistan- A Dialogue with Javed Qazi

Javed Qazi is a pracitising Advocate in Pakistan and supports the women’s rights, minority rights and democratic reforms in Pakistan.

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The attacks from Taliban shall continue, evidences are there that they have been destroying schools, shrines and also have threatened the girls like Hina Khan after attacking Malala despite facing severe fall out in shape of developing consensus and bold censure from the people.

Malala has given the strength to those who were gradually submitting before the fear of Taliban. Not only that but she has amalgamated back to the fragmented society. She has also exposed to those who on political arena, through public rallies, talk shows and other media means were blurring the fact of brutalities of Taliban with the Drones attacks by the US on areas where the Taliban are concentrating i.e North Waziristan.  People like Imran Khan who were against the military operation on the Taliban have really been defeated on the same turfs of opinion making platform. And the consensus almost is there with respect to operation against the Taliban.

Malala has united the nation on platform irrespective of caste, creed and gender that has never been the case after Benazir Bhutto. Even Benazir hasn’t been able to make inroads into the right of the centre people in arguing about moderate Pakistan for the future, stability and sustainable development, but Malala has penetrated to those grey areas of mindsets as well.

However the operation against them has not yet started, as President Zardari had clearly said that there is no consensus on operation, equally the State is realising to the fact that slow they go will make others to intervene and land on our territories to have a direct combating with them. There is a general belief that covert operation against them after Malala incidence has been speeded up. The news of overt operation shall be spontaneous in hearing for ears only

The resentment of the people on Drones attack has also gone dim ever since Malala was attacked.

In short Malala has augmented to the strength of nation to resist to the tumour of the dark ages in shape of Taliban covered and coated in our religion, believes and faith, which has been exploited by them for their ulterior motives.

Do you think that the status of women in Pakistan- (future) prospects after the Malala incident and subsequent protests all across the country will change?

The position from the aspect of emancipation of women is highly dismal here. Ours is the society which is patriarchal. Rural Pakistan which is secular generally yet it is not clear on the gender equality, in urban areas which are conservative in thinking generally but are relatively gender sensitised. This suggests about the mode of production. In urban areas the skill requirement is industrial, information technology or service industry based, it therefore is sine qua non to give women some rights. The schools and other infrastructure facilities in the urban Pakistan are relatively better. Unfortunately it is equally a fact that it is in Urban areas that the support of Taliban or right wing radical (inclined) parties is higher.

Malala phenomenon has thrown a stone in that stagnated water and people have realised as a society that giving education to girls is their inalienable right. Hence she has won to the teenage female girls a great right, which in the course of time will consolidate its position. Malala has become a window from where fresh air comes to the teenage girls of Pakistan, which is not less than 20 million (conjecturally speaking), it has brought a new domain of those have nots in such segment of society, whose rights have never been addressed specifically in that direction. The data and information shall be collected to see the lives and the unfairness that is made to them as being teenage female of the poor and lower middle class strata of the society, both urban and rural.

The menace like honor killing, violence and other kind of harassment that are being made to them in the family and outside the family shall be focussed and addressed with the great vigour in the post Malala attack Pakistan.

The roots of such spontaneous reaction of the people against Taliban when they attacked a teenage girl, lies in the history of the Indus civilization, which has always worshiped women as goddess. The teachings of Sufi Movement follows to the same principle. Malala has revived to the same old ethos of our history and has once again got us to re-root ourselves back into our genesis and roots where women had freedom and the treatment that was equal to men.

Is there a need for the reform in personal laws (w.r.t. women) and their legal status- as opposed to sharia and local customs and traditions? Your Comments.

The present Govt has passed some laws to protect the rights of women, but as such from the implementation side it may work slowly as the general norm of the society hasn’t change given to its inherent conservative and gender in-sensitised outlook. However Malala has given the strength to such reforms and also a sense of realisation to the patriarchal society to change a bit and revisit their  anachronistic norms.

The issue is that Sharia has not been conservative in extending rights to the women but its interpretation has been made so. In many respects we have mixed up Sharia with the Arab culture. The need of the hour is to separate sharia from Arab Culture and history, which was very primitive and against  women. For example honor killing is against the Islamic principles but the clergy has never been vocal against that. This makes their indirect association with the tribal and feudal norms.

There are many diseases in our society which has come from Arab culture and we have accepted to them as if they are Islamic.

Another issue is that there is no single authority on Sharia laws, too many authorities and too many versions of Sharia law create confusion and thus negates to the efficacy of the law. The law has not been developed either through its body of law nor has been synchronised with the UN Charter of Fundamental rights. One reason is that renaissance like Baghdad of Abbasside period hasn’t come back to Muslims.

Sharia law was more developed during the period of Abbasides of Baghadad then originally it was introduced and that is the essence of every law. The more it is rubbed with the sand of facts of every time the more it sparks and shine.

Here the issue is that one cannot make commentary on sharia law with regard to its development and synchronising it with the realities of present time.  If any one dares to do that he/she is taken as doing something unholy.

Law has become a science, in order to make sharia Law correspond to the present time and space as had Bhaghdad of Abasside did, which was the highest pluralistic society in the history of Muslims that was destroyed by the Changhis Khan.

Islam teaches us that man and woman are equal, if we agree to this fact and take it as a principle of Islam, interpreting sharia law becomes very easy then. But the problem is that Sharia has been hijacked by the bigots here and it hasn’t been able to develop the jurist as a branch separate from clergy.

Women is objective reality, her being good or being bad should be treated in the same coin. As has Rumi Said:

“Par Too Haq Sate Aan Mashooq Niast, Khaliq Satte aan Makhlooq Niast”   Translation: woman is a ray of God, she is not Mashooq, she is creator, not created”.

Mala has moved wheel of evolution and it will go faster and faster, in our society the sensitisation on women issue, inter alia, has brought to us by Malala. Thank you Malala.

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